Friday, September 09, 2016

"The Communion of Saints"

Colossians 2.5 NASU

“For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.”

I am a member of the body of Christ, the Church Universal. “I believe in...

...the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,[1]the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.”

There exists in the realm of the Spirit a relationship between every believer in Jesus…
  • of every race, color, and national origin
  • of every gender, age, and vocation
  • of every generation past, present, and future

With or without our recognition, acceptance, or approval, the Universal Church of Jesus Christ exists. It is. This “communion of saints” transcends our comprehension by virtue of its sheer breadth. Its expanse and reach boggle the mind. I am, by God’s design, connected “in spirit” to every other Christian. We are family. Every single devoted follower of Jesus is the brother or sister of all other Christ followers.

I have a friend. His name is Larry. I’ve never met Larry and I know very little about him. He lives in Texas, teaches a Bible class, and is my brother. We have corresponded by only by email. Larry and I have never met, but “even though I am absent [from Larry] in body, nevertheless I am with [him] in spirit”. This reality is as true today as it was when Paul first penned the statement in his letter from a prison in Rome to the believers at Colossae nearly 350 miles away.

I lost my best friend and wife of twenty years on August 30th, 2014, just over a year ago. Leukemia took her life and she is now in the loving arms of Jesus. The kids and I are still grieving. We miss her so very much. Although I cry when I consider the depth of our loss, I am aware that she is member of the Universal Church of Jesus Christ. Robert, Rachel, and I are also members. We are followers of Jesus and still connected with our wife and mother, Adonica. We will be reunited, and that will be a day of unspeakable joy. 

Its good to know we’re not alone, isn’t it? We who profess Christ by faith belong to a family, the family of God. I am “surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12.1). The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all the angelic hosts, departed saints including St. Paul himself, as well as every living believer… we’re all “absent in body” but together “in spirit”. Amazing! “I believe in the communion of saints”. I am never alone.

___________

[1] The term “catholic” in this last section of the “Apostles’ Creed” does not refer to the Roman Catholic Church, but to the larger, universal church of Jesus Christ.

The incredible artwork pictured above are 2 of 25 tapestries depicting 135 over life-sized female and male saints of all ages, races, and vocations from the 1st to 20th century the world over. This collection of tapestries is called "Communion of Saints" and displayed in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, in downtown Los Angeles (http://www.olacathedral.org/). The theme, according to the artist John Nava is one of hope. He wishes those who view the tapestries "to see the humanity of these figures and feel a sense of connection to themselves."

1 comment:

Larry said...

You are most kind.